March 19, 2016

The Garden in Early Spring: A Picture Post

These mild days have infected me with the planting bug. Our last frost is typically mid-April, so I have to make sure I don't jump the gun. But it's a good time to tend to the remnants of the winter garden and plant more cool weather veggies for early summer eating.


Horrific winds in late February blew the cover off the hoop house. I managed to save it before it either blew away or blew to shreds. Since our nighttime temps have only dipped down to freezing since then, I haven't put the cover back on.

What's growing in there?

This bed supplied us with arugula all winter. I've left a few plants to go
to seed. The rest of the bed has been planted with New Zealand spinach.

The cabbages are finally making proper heads. Mostly I've been
 harvesting outer leaves for salads & to feed the goats & pigs.

In between the arugula & cabbage beds, I've planted more lettuce. My
problem is that the cats seem to think they are custom made litter boxes.

Lettuce and radishes planted early in winter and ready to eat. I'll plant
more radishes in the bare row & mulch the rest. Daffodil is a volunteer.

These are kale and Swiss Chard plants that I transplanted last
fall. They too have been providing leaves for salads and goats.

The spinach bed has provided wonderful salads.

This huge pot contains miners lettuce or claytonia. I probably should
have planted it earlier. It's supposed to be a good cold  weather provider. 

Outside the hoop house -

My cabbage-collards are beginning to form heads. I wish I had a
bunch more of these but we had poor germination last fall.

I've started harvesting the remainder of the winter root crops.

Carrots were first, leaving the garlic to finish maturing.

My root veggies are starting to grow root hairs, which indicates an impending growth spurt. When that happens the roots aren't so good to eat. So over the next several days I'm harvesting carrots, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, and parsnips.

Turnips are next.

Summer plans? I'm thinking to get some shade cloth for the hoop house to extend my lettuce harvest. Also I'd like to put up cattle panels for another hoop house and use that as a trellis this summer. Next fall we can plant it with more cool weather crops.

Who else is itching to get their fingers in the dirt? Planting season can't get here fast enough.


28 comments:

Mountain Mama said...

Me! Me! Me! I've had to take a break from outside planting at the moment because winter has returned....but I'm setting up a seed starting area inside so I'm still 'gardening' which makes me happy!

jewlz said...

I think I'm still more intimidated than excited about planting season. Being a novice with a black thumb doesn't bode well growing lol.

Kev Alviti said...

I'm planning on having a good go this weekend but I've already got chillies and tomatoes started. I love this time of year so much! We've still got a few things to eat in the garden but I'm looking forward to more summer crops.

Leigh said...

Good for you! I had to get some early seeds started indoors too, although I don't have a really good spot for that. Sorry to hear about your winter and hope you're back outside soon!

Leigh said...

Well, I don't have a green thumb either, but don't tell anybody! So much of it is trial and error in the beginning anyway, until you learn what grows well for your area and your soil.

Leigh said...

Don't you love having overwintered vegetables? Sounds like you've got a good start on summer too.

Jackie P Neal said...

look at you go! My hubby has been buying his seeds and figuring his planting...just have to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate!
Have a great day Leigh!
Jackie ")

Farmer Barb said...

I am just in the observation stage at this time. I am overjoyed to say that the wild plums I started from seed are, five years later, about to flower! The flowering time coincides with the giant purple flowering plum in my front yard. If those two varieties actually pollinize each other, I will be making plum jam in July for sure! I will be planting peas soon. Can you feed the greens to goats?

Fiona said...

I love your cabbage,...well all your greens. It is. Wonderful what winter planting can produce.

Leigh said...

Hopefully, Mother Nature will be in a good mood this year. :)

Mama Pea said...

Arugula all winter! Oh, I love arugula. How lovely that would be along with all your other greens you can over-winter. Everything in your photos looks so green and healthy. I think I may be drooling. But you know how different my climate is than yours. Still a couple of weeks before I can start my cool weather crop seedlings inside.

Renee Nefe said...

I want to use our old rabbit wire to make a hoop house. I am hoping to keep the squirrels out with it. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that hubby won't approve this. :-/

Kris said...

I spent the last 2 weeks outside, but no veg gardening. It is too early here. But I did transplant 25 clumps of daffs and 3 shrubs as well as a lot of early cleanup. Really will give me a jump start when 'real' spring arrives.
Winter has returned for a few days so I'm back to soup mode. You have so much going down there already and so much overwintered veg. I always like how you can overgrow crops and then get good use as critter fodder. Nothing goes to waste. :-D

Leigh said...

Barb, yes! You can feed the pea greens to goats. I save them, dry them, and add them to their hay.

That's really good news about the plums. My plum tree has only given me a few plums but I'm hoping this is the year for jam.

Leigh said...

Isn't it though? I'm hoping to expand on that next year.

Leigh said...

And when your summer garden is thriving mine will have all but died back from the heat! I don't reckon any of us lives in a perfect climate. :)

Leigh said...

The other think you could do would be to make row covers. Not as big and certainly not as "offensive." :)

Leigh said...

Kris, that's true. With the animals absolutely nothing goes to waste. And the best part is, they turn it into manure for the compost! Win!Win!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Your garden beds look wonderful. The only thing I have planted so far is a small row of mixed lettuce and the chives are up. Still early for us. Nancy

Jason and Michelle said...

I'm hoping to put in my raised beds next month. The weather warms up, then we get more snow. Repeat (sigh). Today was nice, the kids and I worked on cleaning up limbs and leaves.

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Your garden beds look really nice, did you create them yourself? Look at all those veggies!!!!
Yes.....I've been antsy for a while now. My fingers were dirty planting strawberries, and flowers. Tomorrow more veggies go into the ground.

Leigh said...

At least you've got a start!

Leigh said...

Spring is tough, isn't it? Teasingly beautiful weather and then bam! It gets cold and wet again. Nice that you have some helpers. :)

Leigh said...

Dan did the beds for me Sandy. :) And built the hoop house, but it takes two to put the covering on! It's been a real blessing to hve those winter veggies.

Lucía Moreno Velo said...

I've started early tomatoes and early pepper inside. No sign of germination yet. My winter garden is going strong, although radishes have started to show roots, as your carrots have, and they are no longer edible. One thing I'm trying this year, to ease the planting rush, is seed mats. Basically, I'm gluing seeds to strips of toilet paper with the proper distancing. I use a mixture of flour and water for the glue. This way, I can take care of the delicate part of planting (properly spacing tiny seeds) indoors when I can't work outside and then when the time is right, I will just unroll the paper strip on the groung and cover with soil. I've just done that on a bed with two varieties of radishes and covered itwith an old window. I hope it works!! It would be an amazing time saver. Imagine: you could do lots of strips during the winter months and plant them all super quick.
Cheers,
Lucía

Leigh said...

What an excellent idea! I've heard of mats and strips before, but hadn't thought about making them. It would not only give us poor impatient gardeners something to do, but ensure better spacing of the plants.

Unknown said...

Love your winter crop! It's been fun starting seeds indoors and watching the weather predicitons. Looks like we'll be clear of frost up to April 15 in 'Bama. Are you familiar with Paul Gautschis "Back to Eden"? I tried the wood chip cover this year on my garden. Had a bumper crop last year of most everything but in one particular bed carrots and greens were really bitter and almost soapy. Only fit for the chickens. Any ideas? Am 100 pages in to your book and enjoying it immensely!

Leigh said...

I do hope you enjoy the book and find it encouraging!

Yes, I'm familiar with "Back to Eden," lovely! Wood chip mulch around here is expensive to come by - something like $25 a front end loader bucketful. That means I mostly use leaves and straw for the garden. Sounds like you might have a mineral deficiency in your carrot and greens bed. Not sure exactly what, but it might be worth it to have the soil tested.